EU to Ban Chemical Used in Leather Goods

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | January 30, 2009, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 1
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European Union countries have voted to ban the sale of leather goods that use the biocide dimethylfumarate (DMF), which has caused severe allergic reactions in hundreds of consumers.

Leather sofas, shoes and other products that are already on the market and contain DMF "will have to be recalled and withdrawn without delay."

"We need to go further with urgent EU action to tackle the problem at source," said EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva.

"An EU wide ban on the use of DMF in all consumer goods is designed to eliminate the serious health risks and in particular the severe allergic reactions suffered by some consumers when they are exposed to this chemical simply by using everyday leather goods," Ms Kuneva added.

DMF is already banned for use in the manufacture of goods in the EU, since biocidal products containing DMF are not authorised under the Biocides Directive (98/8/EC). However, manufacturers outside the EU may use these unauthorised biocides and then export their products to the EU, as happens with leather products from China.

According to the EC, the decision to ban DMF in all products protects EU consumers from the risk of DMF in imported goods in the same way as they are protected at home.

Dimethylfumarate is used by producers as a biocide to kill moulds that may cause furniture or shoe leather to deteriorate during storage and transportation in a humid climate. Placed in sachets, which are fixed inside the furniture or added to the footwear boxes, DMF evaporates and impregnates the leather, protecting it from moulds. However, it has been found to seriously affect consumers who were in contact with the products. DMF penetrated through the clothes onto the skin of many consumers, where it caused painful dermatitis.
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» To the forumComments (1)
just me - 30 Jan 2009 // 19:00:51

This is really great news!

I had already vowed never again to buy shoes manufactured in China regardless of what label they bore and how nice they looked, and now I know exactly why. This dermatitis is absolutely horrible and I hope that this ruling will force China to become more responsible in manufacturing and exporting. Now I wonder if this chemical is part of what is in those "silica gel" desiccant packets. It would be nice to know what to look for.

FYI, I just read that this chemical is also used to treat psoriasis, which has its own nasty skin manifestation. How bizarre.

Enough of the icky stuff. Have a nice day.

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